WHO plans $100 million emergency response as Ebola deaths top 700
- The World Health Organization (WHO) is launching a new $100 million response plan in conjunction with Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to fight the burgeoning Ebola outbreak in west Africa, which has now claimed an estimated 729 lives.
- WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan will join the presidents of west African nations on Friday to officially launch the new campaign, which centers on bolstering the number of medical aid workers, epidemiologists, social mobilization experts and data managers in the region.
- Although there has been major progress on developing an Ebola vaccine, there are significant economic and logistical hurdles to advancing such a vaccine through the clinical trial process.
The Ebola outbreak in west Africa is an epidemiological nightmare. The epidemic has already claimed more lives than any previously recorded Ebola outbreak -- and it is affecting countries with relatively weak public health and surveillance institutions, consequently straining medical resources and making it difficult to ensure the virus does not spread across borders. Several American doctors and charity workers in the region have been infected with Ebola, and the availability of experimental cures and serums is scarce.
The WHO's new $100 million response plan is split into two major parts: stopping the virus' transmission within affected countries and preventing it from spreading into neighboring regions. That's easier said than done -- the WHO will need to bring in a wide variety of experts ranging from medical professionals to surveillance forces and even armed security guards to accompany doctors in the area. Protecting emergency health and aid workers from contracting the virus is also a central goal of the new plan.
- World Health Organization WHO Director-General, west African presidents to launch intensified Ebola outbreak response plan